DEAR REV. GRAHAM: I resent religious people who try to tell me how to live. I’ll run my life any way I want to, and I don’t think they have any right to tell me how I ought to live. I don’t bother them, so why should they bother me?
— I.G. DEAR I.G.: It may surprise you to learn that some of Jesus’ strongest words were directed at so-called religious people who demanded that everyone follow their rules for living. In reality, however, they were proud and unloving, and didn’t even follow their own rules. Jesus bluntly said, “On the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:28).
Don’t misunderstand me, however, or conclude that God doesn’t care how you’re living — because He does. And the reason is because He loves you, and He doesn’t want you to live in a way that’s only going to destroy you. The Bible solemnly warns: “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 16:25).
Think of it this way. Suppose you were visiting the Grand Canyon with some friends, and you decided to take their picture. But as you backed up to get everyone into the photo, they realized you were getting closer and closer to the edge of the cliff. What would they do? You know the answer: They’d do everything they could to warn you and get you to safety.
The same is true with God. Leaving Him out of your life can only lead to ruin — but God loves you, and He will do everything He can to warn you and save you. Don’t turn your back on Him any longer, but repent of your sins and open your heart and life to Jesus Christ today.